April 21, 2014
Dear Ms. Banks @ LA Times
Thank you for the all-around balanced reporting in your April 11th article on the incident at Santa Monica High School involving Mr. Black, a student, and the cancer of drug dealing on campus and in the classroom.
However, I must take issue with the letter and spirit of your summary paragraph that recommends more teacher training as the solution, "We need to train and trust teachers to manage their classrooms."
You ignored the overwhelmingly dysfunctional role that the District Administration played and too often plays in this and other campus incidents.
Did you ask yourself how a teacher is supposed to effectively manage their classroom, with or without this amorphous training that you suggest, while being undermined by the very people who are supposed to be supporting him/her?
As I followed this incident, both in the papers and online, it seemed crystal clear to me that whatever the content of the further "Training" that you recommend for teachers – It would be far more useful if applied to the District Staff. You know, the ones charged with supporting the teacher in the classroom by facilitating his/her delivery of their assigned educational goals.
How outrageous that the Superintendent of The District called this Violent Drug Dealer's family and apologizedfor Mr. Black's "Alarming" actions in defending himself and his classroom from direct assault by their son. Did Ms. Lyon even consider, until it blew up in her face, contacting the classroom teacher to ask about the particulars of the incident before jumping to a prejudiced opinion?
When a teacher signs a contract to work for The District, do they give up their right to self-defense? Do teachers give up their constitutional right to be considered, "Innocent until proven guilty," when they step into a classroom?
In my opinion, this response displays such an appalling lack of sound judgment, that Ms. Lyons’ contract as Superintendent of SMMUSD should be reconsidered. Sometimes an administrator can sit in the District Office too long and lose touch with what is really going on in the District’s classrooms.
When was the last time that she walked the halls, visited classrooms, and talked with teachers about how things are going, and most importantly, what can I do better to help you accomplish your mission?
SMMUSD, 1977-78 ‘till 2007-08